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Fire Science News

Watch this space for the latest in wildfire science and technology. MCFSC will update this page as new technology, research, and information becomes available to help guide wildfire response and preparedness efforts.

Application of Wildfire Mitigation to Insured Property Exposure

The 2022 Insurance industry report on effectiveness of fire mitigation factors and efforts.  Highly technical and findings are couched as hypothetical but based on currently available data and a single modeling approach.

The Wildfires Burning in the Southwest are Bad but 'Not Unprecedented'

Check out this readable National Public Radio Article describing factors affecting wildland fire frequency and severity.  It was originally published in the Society of Fire Protection Engineers Magazine and reproduced by permission of National Public Radio, 2022. 

New Timeline of Deadliest California Wildfire Could guide Lifesaving Research and Action

The Camp Fire, which originated in power lines above the Feather River Canyon, led to 85 lives lost and 18,000 structures burned. It was the deadliest and most costly fire in California History. Fueled by a sea of tinder created by drought, and propelled by powerful gusts, it grew and traveled rapidly. In less than 24 hours, the fire had swept through the town of Paradise and other communities, as well as thousands of acres of forest land.

This article describes the follow-up by Federal fire researchers to document the characteristics of this fire and the factors which made it so deadly.

Climate Change and Forest Management on Federal Lands in the Pacific Northwest, USA: Managing for Dynamic Landscapes

This recently released publication presents an argument in favor of amending the focus of the Northwest Forest Plan (NWFP) to address the consequences of climate change and interrelated dynamics, particulary focusing on increased fuels, increased fire, increased exotic species effects, and enhanced insect dynamics, on those landscapes.

Draft California Fire Code Includes NIST Tool to Evaluate Wildfire Hazard

Every four years, the California Fire Code is revised through a consensus process. The most recent draft includes a section that introduces a computer-based wildland fire modeling application evolved from the NIST Fire Data Simulator (FDS) programs. The lack of a standard approach to evaluating important and unimportant factors contributing to wildfire risk has hampered efforts to objectively assess individual community risk for damaging wildfires. This new modeling recommends parameters which wich to evaluate communities in order to compare wildfire risk.

This technical article includes links to the proposed code change as well as justifications being considered by voters in the code writing process.

Could Colorado's Type of Extreme Winter Wildfire Happen in California? 'Absolutely,' CAL FIRE Official Says

This article reviews the December 2021 “Marshall Fire” in suburban Denver and comments on the possible occurence of a similar cold weather wildfire incident here in California. Associated Press article includes comments from CALFIRE personnel.

NIST's Emberometer Could Gauge Threat of Wildfire-Speading Embers

As wildfires advance through landscapes or communities, embers they produce can cause ignitions up to 25 miles downwind from fire fronts. This is the primary reason that it is so difficult to control wind-driven fires. New monitoring technology may improve researchers’ ability to study ember behavior and better suggest home-hardening activities to prevent structure loss from firebrands.

This article provides well-written descriptions of the ember threat as well as a history of ember research through the present.

Pyregence Fire Modeling

Pyregence is a software developer and compiles wildfire data modeling from public agencies and specialized fire-science consulting entities. In addition to Zonehaven, it also contains an extreme-weather study area.

Zonehaven Evacuation Scenario Modeling

Zonehaven is a system to specifically focus on evacuation scenarios. Marin County has funded pilot studies with the program suite with a $1 million budget.